Barbara A. Lee, Director
Barbara A. Lee is the director of the California Department of Toxic Substances Control (DTSC). She was appointed by Governor Edmund G. Brown, Jr. on October 31, 2014, and confirmed on August 20, 2015 by the California Senate.
At DTSC, and in her various roles with other environmental agencies, Barbara has worked passionately to ensure the principles of environmental justice. She directed the implementation of DTSC’s Supplemental Environmental Projects (SEP) policy, which benefits environmental justice and Native American communities. She initiated the formation of a cross functional, multi‐cultural, multi‐level task group within the Department to embrace diversity and foster intercultural and cross‐cultural understanding within DTSC.
Barbara has instituted a high level of organizational excellence at DTSC and developed a creative, diverse, and energetic executive team to carry forward DTSC’s mission. Throughout her career as a regulator protecting California's environment, Barbara has set the standard for finding practical, pragmatic policy solutions to complex issues. Her ability to engage industry and the environmental community in solutions that are meaningful and workable has resulted in real improvements in California's environment. She brings that same approach to DTSC's pioneering Safer Consumer Products regulations, which are reducing toxic chemicals in the products that consumers buy and use. The regulations identify specific products that contain potentially harmful chemicals and ask manufacturers to answer two questions: Is this chemical necessary? Is there a safer alternative?
Before joining DTSC, Barbara spent much of her career dedicated to protecting – and improving – the quality of California's air. She was air pollution control officer at the Northern Sonoma County Air Pollution Control District from 1996 to 2014; she was the district's supervising air quality engineer from 1994 to 1996. Barbara was an air quality engineer at the Bay Area Air Quality Management District from 1990 to 1994.
She was co‐chair of the National Association of Clean Air Agencies Monitoring Committee and a member of the California Air Pollution Control Officers Association Board from 1995 to 2014, where she served as president in 2000, 2005 and 2008. She was co‐chair of the California Environmental Protection Agency Environmental Justice Advisory Committee from 2005 to 2007, and served as a member from 2001 to 2007.
Barbara earned a Bachelor of Science in Chemical Engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and has done graduate work in medical technology, biology and neuroscience.